When buying a home, always engage your own expert for a structural report and a white ant inspection report. Some experts are better than others, and it’s best to remember, “my expert’s better than yours”.
If you engage a building consultant, building engineer and white ant specialist, they are working for you. Make the conditions of the sale of the property you wish to buy, the provision of a structural report by your building engineer and a white ant inspection report by your white ant specialist as a minimum.
I recall a client calling me to check a home; it was built in the 1960s; it was timber-framed and had asbestos cladding. They fell in love with the character of the property, and the location was perfect for them.
My client was awaiting the settlement date in four weeks and had done all the negotiations with the agents and paid a substantial deposit. The agent issued a clearance white ant certificate to my client and gave the verbal assurance that everything was all clear, and the white ant persons had checked the property thoroughly.
Do Your Due diligence of the property.
Is this good enough? Should you buy a property based on what someone else says? In short, no. As the old saying goes “buyer beware”. You may not know that the seller does not take responsibility if there is white ant activity or damage to the property; this is up to you and your due diligence.
My client had concerns and called me for advice and assistance for his own peace of mind. I provided an inspection of the property and a full report. I also arranged my nominated appropriate persons and competent experts in white ant investigations to recheck the property. I engaged carpenter contractors with many years of experience to inspect the roof and carefully remove cladding where signs showed damage, visible only to the trained eye, and low and behold; there was a huge amount of white ant damage found in the roof and timber rafters. The approximate cost of repairs was $50,000. As the inspection continued, white ant nests were also found.
But wait, there was more. This was just the tip of the iceberg. Repairs were needed to the internal timber floor, fully rusted out gutters with holes right around the property, lots of dry rot in a significant amount of all the structural timber and much more.
Recommendations were simple; this property was not worth being purchased unless my client was prepared to pay a significant amount of money to bring it back to being a habitable home, free from future costly repair and maintenance work.
As a result, my client demanded a full refund of their $10,000 deposit. In this case, the money was paid back in full, but others have not been so lucky.
One of the many lessons learnt here was that not all properties on the market would be in the state you wish them to be, and agents may mislead you. In this case, the misleading interpretation of the property’s state by the real estate agents and their nominated trades’ disclaimers led my client into believing that everything was OK.
Often clients fall in love with the words and feelings of the home, the location and lifestyle etc., and they are blinded by simple facts or have no knowledge and get sold a lemon quite easily.
Small investment with the building and renovation expert
Therefore, if buying a property, make a small investment and get independent, reputable building consultants to liaise and consult for an independent report with genuine recommendations. You could save yourself a lot of money and a lot of headaches.
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